A simple adeno-associated virus-based approach for the generation of cardiac genetic models in rats

Izhak Kehat, Michal Schlesinger-Laufer, Guy Douvdevany, Lilac Haimovich-Caspi, Yaniv Zohar, Rona Shofty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Heart failure is a major health problem and progress in this field relies on better understanding of the mechanisms and development of novel therapeutics using animal models. The rat may be preferable to the mouse as a cardiovascular disease model due to its closer physiology to humans and due to its large size that facilitates surgical and monitoring procedures. However, unlike the mouse, genetic manipulation of the rat genome is challenging. Methods: Here we developed a simple, refined, and robust cardiac-specific rat transgenic model based on an adeno-associated virus (AAV) 9 containing a cardiac troponin T promoter. This model uses a single intraperitoneal injection of AAV and does not require special expertise or equipment. Results: We characterize the AAV dose required to achieve a high cardiac specific level of expression of a transgene in the rat heart using a single intraperitoneal injection to neonates. We show that at this AAV dose GFP expression does not result in hypertrophy, a change in cardiac function or other evidence for toxicity. Conclusions: The model shown here allows easy and fast transgenic based disease modeling of cardiovascular disease in the rat heart, and can also potentially be expanded to deliver Cas9 and gRNAs or to deliver small hairpin (sh)RNAs to also achieve gene knockouts and knockdown in the rat heart.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1441
StatePublished - 2020


  • Adeno-associated virus
  • Animal models
  • Cardiac research

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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